Archive for the 'Teacher Education' Category

On Professionalism, Social Media and Privacy

By Kathryn Rochford

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful winter break and that you’ve started the semester off strong! It’s going to be a busy one, but I hope it treats us all well.

I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about an experience I had last semester that today is growing increasingly more relevant. This experience relates to the theme of professionalism, social media, and the issue of privacy.

Last semester I was blessed to spend my field experience at Marquette University High School, an all-boys, Catholic high school. I learned so much about teaching styles, classroom management and the importance of relationships with students. However, being one of the two females in the classroom (the other being my coordinating teacher), there were some instances of awkwardness. The main one I want to focus on is when I was casually scrolling through Instagram, and I got a notification of a new follower request. I clicked on the notification to see who it was and, with sudden dread, I realized it was one of the students in the classroom I observed.

A million thoughts seemed to flood through my head. How did he find my Instagram when I’ve never told the students my first name? Why did this specific student follow me if it’s not a student I regularly held conversations with? Do I mention the topic with the student? With my coordinating teacher? Do I make a class announcement about the importance of privacy and the separation that needs to be maintained between students and teachers online?

After careful consideration, and plenty of frazzled conversations with my teacher friends and non-teacher friends alike, I decided to bring it up to my coordinating teacher. She laughed for a bit and said she was surprised that specific student followed me, since again, he never talked to me much. She shared stories of how this has happened before to other observing students she’s had and the issues it had caused them. She recommended I leave it unanswered, since I didn’t want him to see I rejected the request and then keep requesting to follow me. I decided I would follow that advice since it seemed like the easiest path.

Lately it feels as if we are warned more and more about what to put on our social media as potential employers can and will use your posts as a determining factor on whether to hire you. It never really occurred to me that my students, and possibly their parents, would be looking me up, too. It reminds me of a policy my teachers in high school had that even if we did friend request them, they wouldn’t accept the request until after we had graduated. In the case of my soccer coach/ history teacher, he used to tag my mom in photos of me so I could still see the posts.

I thanked God I had my profile set to private not public, and that even then I am careful with what I post. If I had one recommendation for new education students, it’s to set your profile to private so people must request to follow you and to still limit what you post. Your future students don’t need to see pictures of you at parties in college or drunk at a bar on your 21st.

This new idea of professionalism in the workplace may be a bit hard to get used to. It’s hard to see so many other college students freely posting and saying what they want to on Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. They can post some of the fun memories we have with them that may be NSFW. I’m sure this part of adulting and learning what should be shared and what shouldn’t be is hard for everyone when they hit that point, but the issue for us as education majors is that transition happens as you are trying to figure out what college is and who you are as an adult. However, this idea of professionalism carries a different weight with it when you are an education major, especially one here at Marquette. Here at MU, we are blessed to enter the professional world a bit earlier than most, with opportunities for service-learning beginning freshman year.

So, while this may be a more serious topic than I usually post, I feel it is especially relevant as we move into times where our students could be trying to find our social media. Overall, social media can be a wonderful tool to connect us, to bring us to the latest ideas, and to share aspects of our lives. Yet when it comes to our lives as educators, it’s time to switch into private mode. Hopefully a few of you can learn from my story and won’t have to have an awkward interaction like that. If you do have something like this happen in the future, I hope you can face it head on, without the minutes of panic I seemed to have.

Week 7: The End

Laine Dolan, an elementary education and communications studies student in the College of Education is spending part of her student teaching semester abroad. She is teaching at Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand, and is blogging about her experience. This post originally appeared on Laine’s own blog

p121The time has finally come: the last week of student teaching in New Zealand is over. However, here is a recap of the final week of this incredible experience!

My class had been working hard at their play of The Rainbow Fish and finally got to perform it for some other classes on Monday. The costumes turned out adorable and the students read their lines very well! I think I might have a few future Broadway stars in my class.

The last week of school we also had a water day where the kids enjoyed soaking me with squirt guns and a huge slip ‘n slide was set up on a hill. Another student teacher and I may have enjoyed the slip ‘n slide more than our students! My class also created their own jandals (sandals) after we read the story Crocodiles Christmas Jandals. I also continued to share my passion of lacrosse with my kiddos as we had some chances to practice their skills more. Finally we ended the week with some well earned ice blocks (popsicles).

Oh! Don’t let me forget about the final assembly! There were awards, each year level sang songs, and most importantly… the American teachers put together a little something for the school. We also were lucky enough to be pulled on stage with the Pacifico group to try to learn their cultural dance moves. It is a Pacifico tradition to bring people into their culture by having them try the dance with them. It was quite the surprise to us to be pulled on stage again but we did our best!

It’s the people that really make the most impact on experiences in life. I am so grateful to have been places with Janet these past seven weeks. She has been so fun to work with and has helped me grow as a teacher in so many ways. On our final day, after the bell rang and school ended, all of us American student teachers headed to Bethells beach for one last afternoon hangout.


I am so thankful for each and every person that I met while student teaching in New Zealand. There were countless people that went out of their way to make us all feel welcome. Lisa (a teacher at Swanson) hiked and got burgers with us the first weekend. Mike (a teacher) dedicated so much time to help us make traditional Maori bone carving necklaces. Hazel (a teacher and host of Sarah) took us hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling. Matt (a teacher) took us surfing. These are just a few of the numerous people that made this trip so special.

Most of all I am thankful for the girls asleep on the beach above. I could not have asked for a better group of girls to be stuck with every day for the past seven weeks. Sarah, Alee, Erin, Maddy, and I made so many memories this trip that I will never forget. I’m lucky to have four new best friends! See you all at St. Norbert College when I visit soon!

Thanks for following my blog!

The End.

The Final Hui and Growing the Game

Laine Dolan, an elementary education and communications studies student in the College of Education is spending part of her student teaching semester abroad. She is teaching at Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand, and is blogging about her experience. This post originally appeared on Laine’s own blog

p141_origThis second-to-last week of the school year was filled with a lot of learning and fun. We have been working this entire term on passion projects. Each child was able to choose their passion that they wanted to create a project on. Passions ranged from baking and horses to robots and Minecraft. Each of the students had to pick a topic, create questions about the topic and find answers to some of their questions. They then created a poster and presented to the class their passion.

Knowing before I got to New Zealand that the students would be doing passions projects, I was able to gather a few things to bring to share my passion to the class. My passion is lacrosse, and this past week I was able to share it with my class and grow the game of lacrosse all the way to New Zealand. Although lacrosse does exist in New Zealand and they do have a national team, it is very rare to play and few people know the game. I gave my students a presentation on my passion and explained the game of lacrosse to them and my involvement in the sport. It was really exciting because the students were extremely engaged. I had not seen them sit so still and listen so well on the mat until that moment. Since I knew that students at Swanson would not know the game of lacrosse, I brought a little set with me. This set included a few sticks, goalie stick, ball and net. After explaining in my presentation all about boys and girls lacrosse, I was able to take students outside in small groups to teach them a little lacrosse. They all had a blast learning the new sport and asked every day after if we could play again. I absolutely loved sharing my passion with these kids and hope that some will continue to play after I leave.

Along with our passions projects we completed some missions in maths! Yes I said MATHS and not math because that’s what they call it here. Another highlight of the week (and, really, my entire trip) was going to the final Hui! Students from the kaphaka group sang Maori songs and performed traditional Maori dances, including the Haka, which is a war dance. This was one of the greatest experiences ever. Six weeks down and only one more week to go!


Every Country Should Have Thanksgiving

Laine Dolan, an elementary education and communications studies student in the College of Education is spending part of her student teaching semester abroad. She is teaching at Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand, and is blogging about her experience. This post originally appeared on Laine’s own blog

p98“Every country should have Thanksgiving” said a random New Zealand lady at a rest stop on the side of the road, and I could not agree more. This woman had started up a conversation with the other American student teachers and me when we stopped for a quick break to take in some views on our drive back from a weekend trip. The friendly woman overheard us talking with our American accents and was quick to ask if we were from the States. She then started to express her love of the idea of Thanksgiving, and wished that she and every other country in the world celebrated it too. It was in this moment that I realized I had never appreciated thanksgiving enough.

Every year, as every other American does, I express what I’m thankful for around Thanksgiving. Usually it’s the typical things like family, friends, food and a house I am thankful for, but this Thanksgiving I am thankful for Thanksgiving. It really is amazing to think an entire country as big as the United States all stops on the last Thursday in November every year to be thankful. Students get off of school. Majority of adults get off of work. People travel home to their families. All to sit down and share a meal with your loved ones and give thanks.

The woman at the rest stop was not the only New Zealand person who mentioned to me that they love the idea of Thanksgiving and wished they celebrated. Multiple people throughout November mentioned to me how much they wish they celebrated. With each person who mentioned something I became more grateful that I am able to celebrate it every year in the States.

During the week of Thanksgiving in the States, I got to teach a lesson to my New Zealand students about Thanksgiving. I read a few Thanksgiving books that they loved, and they wrote about what they were thankful for and what they would do if they were a turkey on Thanksgiving. I of course also had them do the classic activity of creating turkeys using their hands for the feathers and feet for the body. It was so fun teaching kids who knew nothing about our holiday of Thanksgiving. It was also extremely interesting because New Zealand has a similar but different history than the United States. Like in the United States, native people (the Maori) were living in New Zealand before the English came to settle. Although they were different periods in time, the English in the United States and New Zealand were presented with the same situations but had handled it differently. The pilgrims in the United States forced the native Americans out of their land. In New Zealand, the English and the Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi. This treaty ultimately gave the Maori people power to continue to celebrate their culture and traditions. It led to more Maori culture being in the New Zealand curriculum and ultimately taught in every classroom in New Zealand. Although it is said the English people in New Zealand might not have had the best intentions with the treaty, it ultimately was what gave the Maori the power to get Maori culture integrated into New Zealand curriculum.

I enjoyed sharing the American holiday of Thanksgiving with my students in New Zealand this year, however, I think I will need to have a proper Thanksgiving meal when I get back to the states in the Spring. Thanksgiving without a turkey and stuffing is just not the same.

Embracing Maori Culture

Laine Dolan, an elementary education and communications studies student in the College of Education is spending part of her student teaching semester abroad. She is teaching at Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand, and is blogging about her experience. This post originally appeared on Laine’s own blog.

p112Before I even got to New Zealand, I started to experience the immense integration of the Maori culture within New Zealand. I was greeted in multiple emails from the New Zealand faculty saying “Kia Ora.” From the context of the emails I could make the assumption that this was a greeting, however, I didn’t look into what language this greeting was and where it came from exactly. I quickly learned when I got to New Zealand that it was “hello” in the Maori language.

Here is the long story short: the Maori are the native people in New Zealand. In the early 1800’s the English were trying to colonize in New Zealand. They eventually created The Treaty of Waitangi, which was signed in 1840 by numerous Maori chiefs. However, the English translation and the Maori translation have different meanings for the treaty. The English began to take advantage of the Maori, and the agreements of the treaty disappeared for numerous years. Eventually the Maori people were able to fight back and clarify and ratify the treaty with the English. This then led to Maori language being a part of the New Zealand curriculum and taught in every school.

One of the first things I noticed in my classroom at Swanson was the amount of Te Reo (Maori language) posted on the walls. There were translations for the days of the week, the months, the numbers and more. The language was everywhere. In addition, every morning when the teacher takes roll they say “Kia Ora” and then the person’s name. After roll, everyone stands up and we all say the Karakia together. This is a Maori prayer or ritual that we say to start the day. We also say a Karakia to end the day before the students go home. After we say the Karakia we usually sing a Maori song in Te Reo.

After the Karakia and some songs, we usually do mat time where we will go through the days of the week in English and Te Reo. Teachers also frequently ask students to stand up or sit down in Te Reo. Te Reo and Maori culture is part of the New Zealand norm. I see the language frequently written places like on trains and bathroom doors in public. People frequently use Te Reo words while speaking or greeting others. They also refer to Maori culture a lot and many wear Maori necklaces.

One of the greatest parts about all of this is that it is all people that are celebrating the Native New Zealand culture. There are white New Zealand people and brown New Zealand people who all celebrate their country’s native culture. I have learned so much about the Maori culture while being here for this short time and it has had such a positive impact on me.

​I love the way New Zealand celebrates their native Maori culture in everything and every day. I think it would be really amazing in the United States took a page from New Zealand’s book and started incorporating more Native American culture in classrooms. The Native Americans were the first Americans and they deserve to have their culture taught and celebrated in all classrooms.

Here are pictures of Te Reo in our classroom!

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Cat Pitt-Payne

We’ve been getting to know our students for a while, and we’re excited to introduce you to Cat Pitt-Payne, a graduate student pursuing her Masters of Education and teaching licensurethrough the College of Education. Read on to get to know Cat! And, if you missed out on meeting the rest of our featured students, faculty and alumni, you can catch up today


I grew up all over the place. I was born in the England, and have lived in California, Illinois, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Most of my formative years were spent in Illinois. I’ve now lived in Kenosha for a year and a half. My family is amazing. Supportive. Funny. Big! I am the oldest of six siblings (four sisters and a brother), we all get along great, and we’ve all taken very different paths so far so it’s always cool to get together with everyone and see how they’re doing. My siblings are probably my harshest critics but they’re also my biggest supporters, and it’s all love.

Right now I’m working at the front desk in the College of Education’s Educational Policy and Leadership department, and having such a good time with it. I love getting to know the faculty and staff a little better, especially outside of class, and doing things for them. I pretty much feel like I’m being constantly mentored and it’s pretty incredible. Also, I am a huge Swiftie so I love when Dr. Burant plays music in her office!

I’ve had so many wonderful educational experiences. I have really bad impostor syndrome so any time that I am able to rise to a challenge and accomplish more than I thought I could it is always a great experience for me. It keeps me motivated, reminds me of my real potential, and helps me carry that attitude over to the students I teach. I want to encourage my own students in their moments of doubt and insecurity the way that my mentors/professors have encouraged me in my moments of doubt and insecurity.

I am always excited to work on becoming more organized and efficient. I’m not always great at managing my time, but last semester I was able to get into a really great rhythm with my schoolwork and I was so on top of things I rarely had to do homework on the weekends and could simply enjoy them. I even went out of town for concerts on a couple of different weekends, and I came back to school during the week ready to go! So, yeah. Every new semester is an opportunity to find that rhythm so that I can be productive and excel in my coursework but also have fun.

Marquette’s focus on social justice is probably one of the most important – if not the most important – element that drew me here. Since I’ve been here, I can’t imagine being in any other program. The professors have understood me so well and identified my strengths as well as the areas where I can do better and they get what my goals are and really know how to help me achieve them. This is the happiest experience I have ever had in school.

Outside of the classroom I really enjoy getting in touch with my creative side. I enjoy reading, writing, watching movies, listening to music, and cooking. When I lived in California, my favorite thing to do was head to the beach with a book/notebook and music and just get inspired by nature. I also love going on road trips, discovering new places, and talking with friends about pretty much anything. When I go on trips I see the world, and reading/writing is my way of processing the world. I’m constantly learning from other people and I love talking to others about their experiences and finding out what their lives are really like. These hobbies help me connect with other people and also find my own place in a bigger world. One thing I love to do is to put my music on shuffle and just start writing whatever comes to my head. I have found that listening to music can trigger thoughts in me that I didn’t even know I had, and I have made a lot of discoveries about myself.

Carrie Fisher was one of my favorite people. Her great sense of humor, her candor when it came to discussing her life and struggles, her confidence as a woman navigating and aging within a patriarchal society, and her commitment to art through writing, acting, and filmmaking have all inspired me in multiple aspects of my life. I would like to think a lot of that carries over into my teaching style, too. I like developing close relationships with my students so that we can have real, honest, and humorous conversations not only about what we’re reading, but about our human experiences, too. Other than that, I have had a number of incredible mentors throughout my life who have taken me under their wings and many of them I’ve found here at Marquette. I am very blessed in the inspiration department.

I feel really lucky and so happy to be a part of Marquette’s College of Education community, and I’m so glad that I decided to finish my teacher education and get my M.Ed. here! I can’t imagine having gone anywhere else.

Why is Cheese in America Orange?

Laine Dolan, an elementary education and communications studies student in the College of Education is spending part of her student teaching semester abroad. She is teaching at Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand, and is blogging about her experience. This post originally appeared on Laine’s own blog.
downloadThink about it… milk is white… why do we have orange cheese in America?! I was mindblown when this idea was brought to my attention here in New Zealand. We were sitting in the staff room during morning tea chatting with a reliever (substitute teacher) when this was brought to my attention. She had lived in the United States for about five years in her teen years when her dad had moved there for work. We were talking about differences between the States and New Zealand. She explained the thing that confused her the most in the States was that we had bright orange cheese. At first I was confused by her comment because I’ve just grown up “knowing” cheese is orange. When you put a slice of cheese on your burger it’s bright orange, when you make Kraft Mac ‘n cheese and most kinds it’s bright orange, and if you buy a cheesehead in Wisconsin it’s bright orange! If someone asked me to draw a slice of cheese I would most likely draw it orange.
However, as I say that, I was perplexed by her comment and put it all together: cows make milk which makes cheese. Cows’ milk is white… so why and how is our cheese orange… Milk is never orange! I was dumbfounded. What are the cheesemakers of America not telling us?! So… I did some research to find the answer to this mystery that I had natural believed my whole life. According to a NPR article, certain breeds of cow had a natural yellow-orange pigment when they were being grass fed. Grass fed = greater quality cheese. Well cheese producers decided to make a little more money by skimming off the cream to make butter separately. However, this took away some of the color of the cheese. So they started to color the cheese to make it seem like it was still quality cheese. Then they started getting even more tricky and coloring it brighter and brighter orange because people believed it was greater quality the more orange. This started in England and was carried over to the States. And that is why our cheese is orange! It is indeed colored with dye! There is my spiel about cheese being orange because I was so rattled by the fact the cheese I had grown up with my whole life was not the same color as milk.

Now transitioning to school… school is still good! I have taken over the first blog which has primarily been reading and math. I have really enjoyed the freedom of planning and teaching here. There is not a strict curriculum so I can choose what I want to do and how I want to do it. My teacher I am working for has been really amazing to work with and has helped me grow a lot. Next week I will fully be taking over the classroom.

Over the weekend we drove up north to the Bay of Islands for a few nights. The beaches were incredible and the view was unbelievable. We went sailing on Saturday and enjoyed 6 hours on the water with the most amazing sights. Sunday we relaxed on the beach and enjoyed some good food. We then made our way home. I successfully drove on the left side of the road the whole way so that’s a win.

It has been the most incredible experience here and I cannot wait to see what else we explore!

What is a Marquette Educator?

Follow us on Twitter